Shareef Miller’s Size, Speed Boost NFL Draft Stock
Shareef Miller’s Penn State journey was one marked by growth from year to year, and that progress has led him to the doorstep of the NFL.
After redshirting during the 2015 season, Miller was used as a rotational piece on the defensive line during the Big Ten championship season in 2016. In his final two years, Miller grew into an increased role and earned more regular playing time.
The defensive end’s final season in Happy Valley was his best. He was a co-winner of the Nittany Lions’ Most Valuable Defensive Player Award after posting 41 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss, and 7.5 sacks last season.
That strong showing anchoring his team’s defense might be enough for Miller, a likely late-round pick, to have his name called on the third day of the NFL Draft.
Miller’ athleticism is his strongest asset. In addition to his 6’4″, 254-pound team, he also flashed an impressive 40-yard dash time of 4.69 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine.
This combination of size and speed was on full display throughout Millers college career. His ability to track down ball carriers and bring them to the ground won’t go unnoticed by NFL scouts.
That said, Miller is a little raw when it comes to some of the more technical aspects of playing defensive end professionally. The way he uses his hands has been inconsistent at times, hurting his ability to fight off offensive tackles’ pushes.
NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein also noted that Miller has a “below-average” ability to control the point of attack, and his “predictable rush plan with basic arc run” may not be optimal at the NFL level right away. Miller will also have to develop a reliable “counter” move to deploy against skilled NFL linemen who will have less trouble keeping up with him.
A lot of these drawbacks can be smoothed over with good coaching and development. Miller is still raw by NFL standards, but the talent and physical capability are certainly there…even if it takes some time for him to adjust.
At the end of the day, Miller will probably spend much of his rookie season on the sidelines, but he could force his way into his team’s defensive end rotation towards the end of the season if his fundamentals improve.
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